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In this issue:
Preventing Reversals of Fortune
Safety Today: Laptop Ergonomic and Heat Safety
Roger Kornberg to Present Public Lecture
SLAC to Host P5 Meeting

SLAC Today

Tuesday - February 19, 2008

Ellie Schofield with the equipment at Beamline 7-2.

Preventing Reversals of Fortune

An international collaborative team of researchers at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) is currently working to learn how to keep uranium soil contamination out of circulation in ground water.

Previous experiments show that soil bacteria, with enough fuel, will convert the soluble kind of uranium (hexavalent uranium) into a dramatically less soluble kind (tetravalent uranium).

Now researchers at SSRL want to know how to keep the uranium in that latter state, which should stay put in soils. If it were to revert back to the hexavalent form, which can seep far through the groundwater, the uranium could potentially spread contamination over larger areas. The bacteria chemically reduce hexavalent uranium by giving it extra electrons. But in the presence of oxygen, the uranium oxide could subsequently lose these electrons and be oxidized back to the more soluble form.  Read more...

(Column - Safety Today)

Laptop Ergonomic
and Heat Safety

Although extremely convenient, laptop computers can cause ergonomic problems and sometimes generate too much heat.

A keyboard in a well-designed computer workstation should sit low and tilt downward toward the user. The screen top should sit near eye height. Setting the laptop on a stand that tilts the base down in front and up in back can help. Laptop users should also consider taking several stretch breaks per hour and avoiding resting their forearms on sharp-edged work surfaces.

In addition, the heat generated by lithium ion batteries can cause problems including skin burns, equipment damage and fire. Laptop users should make sure they have adequate space below their computers, unblock ventilation ports and make sure that cooling fans are running. A laptop stand, such as the one pictured above, can help to efficiently channel air through the computer. This added airflow helps to cool a laptop's lithium ion batteries, which also helps to extend their service life.

Roger Kornberg to Present Public Lecture

Image courtesy of Linda A. Cicero, Stanford News ServiceSave the date: Nobel Laureate Roger Kornberg will present From Atoms to Animals: The Vital Force in Biology at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 26. All are welcome to attend.

SLAC to Host P5 Meeting

The Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel will meet at SLAC this week in the second of three cross-country town hall meetings to aid in forming a new 10-year-plan for U.S. particle physics.

By April, P5 will make a recommendation to the U.S. High Energy Physics Advisory Panel that takes into account the field's fluid nature and considers projects in different budget scenarios.

The agenda, including two days of public presentations on future scientific opportunities, is now available online. All are encouraged to attend this important meeting, in particular the Town Meeting on the afternoon of Friday, February 22.


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